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Symptoms & Diagnosis

Why Self-Diagnosis of BPD Doesn’t Work

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Self-diagnosis BPDIt’s so tempting these days to skip the trip to the doctor and hop on Google instead. You can type in any symptom and get “answers” to the cause of any of your symptoms, from raging headaches to sleeplessness to itchy bumps.

Self-diagnosis for any malady is not a particularly good idea. For those who suffer from the debilitating symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), self-diagnosis is a particularly insidious endeavor.

Here are a few reasons why self-diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder isn’t going to help you get the relief you need:

Co-occurring Medical Conditions May Be Missed

In the article “The Dangers of Self Diagnosis,” written by Srini Pillay, M.D., and posted on Psychology Today, Pillay discusses the dangers of self-diagnosis in psychological syndromes:

“You may miss a medical disease that masquerades as a psychiatric syndrome. Thus, if you have panic disorder, you may miss the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism or an irregular heartbeat. Even more serious is the fact that some brain tumors may present with changes in personality or psychosis or even depression.”

Pillay points out that while you might feel okay about not receiving traditional treatment for anxiety or depression, you may feel differently about receiving treatment for, say, a brain tumor.

Objective Point of View isn’t Possible

Again, for any disorder, mental or physical, it’s nearly impossible to be objective about oneself. Sure, we ask others their opinion regarding our clothes or our new haircut because, on this level, we are okay with accepting that we may not see ourselves as objectively as others.

If only we could extend that openness to our health and let a professional be our mirror. Particularly when it comes to Borderline Personality Disorder. Meeting with an objective, trained medical professional is the only healthy way to receive a diagnosis of BPD.

False Sense of Control

If you self-diagnose BPD, you may be giving yourself a false sense of control over your symptoms. Akin to the smoker who says, “I can stop anytime I want,” and who then sneaks cigarettes in the tool shed, you are putting too much pressure on yourself to know how to deal with your symptoms on your own. You are also rejecting one of the most valuable tenets of recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder: support.

Seeking help can be overwhelming. There are so many options when it comes to Borderline Personality Disorder treatment centers. Find the information for centers near you and visit or call to inquire about their process of diagnosis.

You May Be Wrong

Anytime you try and self-diagnose your symptoms, you run the risk of getting it wrong. That puts you at further risk for seeking treatment for the wrong diagnosis, or attempting self-help remedies that aren’t appropriate.

When it comes to Borderline Personality Disorder, you don’t want to be wrong. With proper diagnosis and a treatment plan formulated specifically for you, the statistics for recovery from the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder are high.

“Of patients with BPD who were hospitalized and then released, up to 70 percent no longer met criteria for the disorder in a six-year follow-up period,” said Alexander Chapman, Ph.D, author of The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide. “Of those people who stopped meeting criteria for the disorder, 94 percent of them never met criteria again across the six years.”

Help and hope is out there, but it’s a collaborative effort. You don’t want to risk misdiagnosing your symptoms through self-diagnosis and not getting the treatment you need to recover from Borderline Personality Disorder.

4 Comments

  1. This is a good list, I would also like to add that those who self diagnose can be doing harm to those who have the illness.
    The characteristics that describe the illness cannot, unfortunately, do justice to the actual severity of those symptoms. My illness is not an excuse for eccentric behavior, it is not a validation of how “hard” i have it, its a personal battle, my emotions are not puddles i hop through, they are like great tides of water that rip through me.
    When others self diagnose, it cheapens the disorder.
    I understand that we do not all have the same access to mental health services and with so much information available online it is often difficult to resist the temptation of self diagnosis, but when a person decides to self diagnose, they may be making a mole hill out of someone else’s mountain.

  2. I self-diagnosed myself after my mom told me that she thinks I have BPD. It was the night my grandmother died and I got in a huge fight with my dad, I told him he deserved to have his mom dead. I didn’t mean it, I was mad and I couldn’t control myself. I have done this my ENTIRE life. Not only that, but I always accused my dad of never loving me and wanting to get rid of me. I always assume people don’t love me and want to leave me, I have abandonment issues for no reason. I lost countless friends and boyfriends over the years, destroying one relationship after the other. I’ve done a LOT of research and noticed that I fit every description. Of course it’s not a real diagnosis, but it’s not like i’m doing it to seek attention, I keep it to myself and try to fight a silent battle everyday, and because I self-diagnosed myself, i’m winning that battle.

  3. Honestly, I can’t afford to go to a professional therapist and get diagnosed with bpd or any disorder for that manner. All I know is that i have difficulty controlling my emotions and anxiety and sometimes feel these emotions so intensely that i wish i could die. It would be helpful instead of telling people just not to diagnose themselves, give them other viable options to deal with what they’re going through.

  4. I have been in treatment for almost two years, just being diagnosed with ADHD (female, 40s), but have always felt there was something else “wrong” with me. This sounds silly, but I watched the movie ‘Welcome To Me”, and immediately recognized the character’s thoughts and behaviour as my own. Kristen Wigg’s BPD character is hilarious, but it’s sad because the “crazy” things she’s doing to make the film’s audience laugh, are things that seem normal to me. A diagnosis is useful if you want meds or insurance, but from my experience, so many of these issues are so similar. Consider the practical self-treatment and managing your own thoughts, which is difficult, but can be done. Medical help is expensive and lengthy and doesn’t always get it right. Take control and figure out what helps while you wait for treatment. Watch the movie and things may start to make more sense, especially for us girls. Trust me :)

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